1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Long Ago and Far Away: Is Water Hyacinth Here to Stay?

Water Hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, on Lake Tallavana
While drinking my coffee on the deck Saturday morning, I indulged in some lake gazing. What's this thing? Overnight, a raft of purple flowers and lush vegetation has parked itself in plain view. Will it stay? In one sense, yes. According to this UF IFAS site, the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, water hyacinth has been making itself at home in the United States since at least 1884, when it made an appearance at an exposition in New Orleans. Originally from Brazil, it sure is pretty to look at but not so pretty in terms of what it can do to a lake or river if left to its own devices.

A raft like this one can double in size in a matter of a week or two and spreads easily either vegetatively or by sexual reproduction (seed dispersal). It may have gotten its start here on this lake by a piece of it being carried in on someone's boat propeller (an example of the vegetative method of reproduction). It could have been introduced by someone dumping a fish aquarium into the water. Or, maybe someone thought since it looked so wonderful in one of those backyard water features, it would really spruce things up out on the open water. Oh, yes. You can buy these things online and make your pet fish think they're living it up on the Amazon River.

Still in my pajamas, I fussed with the camera and fumed (blame too much coffee?) at yet another example of humans' carelessness with Mother Nature. SAM and Micah, blissfully unaware of Grandma's numinous musings, had already cast off for a morning of fishing.

Now that water hyacinth may be here to stay, what's a person to do? Fume or fish? Maybe a little of both but certainly not at the same time.


  1. I'm sorry to hear they are invasive there. Here we struggle to keep them alive.

  2. Hmmm. This all reminds me of our Florida trip and the air boat ride. I thought it was all pretty stupid tearing around like on an amusement park ride for $90 a half hour. One interesting thing though was the skipper going on about all the deadly invasive flora and fauna. It sounded pretty serious. Funny though he never mentioned water hyacinths. Maybe they're now considered old hat by some.

  3. I see water hyacinth here. Some place becomes an attraction for their blanket of flowers. Their thin shade of purple, one petal of which is dark purple with yellow in the center look so lovely. I didn't know they were listed as one of the 100 world's worst invasive alien species. Appearences can certainly be deceiving but in certain field, they seem to be useful. At least I have to be careful about the disposal of them.

    Enjoy your summer, w2w.

  4. Hi W2W .. they are invasive ... but if you read the Wikipedia entry - they can have some benefits (not in such a large quantity) ...

    But there definitely needs to be a clear out ..

    Beautiful area .. love the photos .. thanks so much Hilary

  5. Dear Walk2Write,
    invasive plants are really a danger to landscape and nature. (As are e.g. the Spanish slugs) No foes to destroy them or keep them at bay. You remind me to write something on those plants in gardeninginhighheels. If I find the time before going to Munich for holiday+house-sitting for our son&daughter-in-law, who are on a 7 weeks honeymoon in the USA - in an open white Camaro :-)

  6. Foreign invasives are the worst. We are battling norwegian maples in our yard to protect our native sugar and red maples. I love that photo of SAM and Micah fishing - very Rockwell.

  7. Even on our recent trip to Utah we saw signs for boat inspections. Maybe not for water hyacinth but possibly zebra mussels? I am not sure.
    My brothers can't barely go a day without fishing in the summer. Funny how some people really LOVE it and others could care less. ( my husband is one of the latter.)

  8. *sigh* I know. Those invasive plants are the worst... I wasn't even aware of them til I tried to get some water lettuce for my little backyard pond in so-Ala. They're so pretty. It's too bad they're wreckin the place~ :o) <3

  9. Interesting, it's old enough to practically be considered a native. We get it in our water ways, especially the canals.

  10. There are two rivers passing through our city and the hyacinth is really causing a problem (and a breeding ground for mosquitoes)